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Massachusetts disability benefits

How Much Are Disability Benefits in Massachusetts?

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
May 24, 2024  ·  3 min read
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In Massachusetts, over 195,000 residents currently receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and its two federal disability programs. 

As a Massachusetts resident, if you are unable to work due to a medical condition, you may be eligible for monthly payments and health insurance through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Read on to learn about the average benefit amounts in Massachusetts and how the SSA calculates these amounts.

How much does disability pay in Massachusetts?

In 2024, the maximum monthly payment for SSDI is $3,822 in all states. For SSI, the maximum payment is $943 per month, with couples receiving up to $1,415.

According to the SSA, the average monthly payments in Massachusetts are approximately $1,834 for SSDI and $604 for SSI. If you qualify for SSDI, you are also eligible for Medicare, while SSI beneficiaries can access Medicaid to assist with their medical costs.

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How is SSDI calculated?

The calculation of your SSDI benefit amount is based on your past earnings. The SSA uses a formula that takes into account your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) and your primary insurance amount (PIA).

Your AIME is an average of your earnings over the years, adjusted for inflation. The SSA then applies a formula to your AIME to determine your PIA, which is the amount you’ll receive each month if you’re approved for SSDI.

For a personalized estimate of your SSDI benefits, create an account on the SSA’s website.

How is SSI calculated?

SSI is determined by assessing your financial need rather than your work history. The SSA begins with a federal benefit rate, which is $943 per month in 2024.

The SSA then subtracts from this amount any countable income you receive, including earnings and other benefits, like food stamps. If your countable income is less than the federal benefit rate, you will receive the maximum monthly SSI payment of $943. However, if you have other sources of income, the SSA will deduct those from your SSI payment, lowering your monthly amount.

Should I apply for disability in Massachusetts?

If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working for at least 12 months, you may be eligible for disability benefits in Massachusetts. To qualify for SSDI, you need sufficient work credits based on your employment history — typically by having worked for at least five of the last 10 years. 

For SSI, you must be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old, and your countable resources must be less than $2,000 (or $3,000 for married couples). Your total monthly income also has to be less than $943, which is the federal benefit rate for 2024.

How much does a disability lawyer cost in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, most disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case. 

The standard fee for a disability lawyer is 25% of your back pay, with a legal cap of $7,200. Your back pay includes the benefits you were entitled to receive between the time you became eligible and the date the SSA approved your case. Due to processing delays at the SSA, your first check might not include your back pay, so the lawyer’s fee will come from your first back pay payment.

While a good disability lawyer will adhere to this contingency fee arrangement, be cautious — some may charge additional fees for services like gathering medical records. It's important to choose a reputable disability lawyer who follows the standard fee guidelines without requiring upfront payments.

Hire a great disability lawyer in Massachusetts

Get help applying for disability benefits

If you’re a Massachusetts resident who is applying for disability benefits, Atticus is here to assist you. Start by taking our quick, two-minute quiz to check your eligibility. After that, a member of our team will get in touch to gather more information about your specific situation.

Working with a disability lawyer can make your application three times more likely to win an approval. If you want, Atticus can connect you with a qualified disability lawyer who will guide you through the process. There are no upfront costs — you only pay a one-time fee to your lawyer when they win your case.

Frequently asked questions about disability in Massachusetts

What qualifies you for disability in Massachusetts?

To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.

What conditions qualify for disability in Massachusetts?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in Massachusetts?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Massachusetts. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes just over two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in Massachusetts?

The average SSDI payment in Massachusetts is $1,366.75 per month. The average SSI payment is $620.78. What you’ll earn depends on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in Massachusetts?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does Massachusetts have a state disability program?

No, Massachusetts doesn't have its own state disability program. Only five states have a state program (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island). Residents of Massachusetts can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.

Related resources:

Massachusetts Disability Benefits

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By Jackie Jakab

SSA Offices in Massachusetts

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By Jackie Jakab

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Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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